Olivia’s expression softened and after a while she gave a little smile. “You’re okay, I guess, Reed. No one’s ever going to love you, but you’re okay.”
He gave her a wry smile, “Thank you, Miss Ruiz. I’ll remember that when you’re begging for sympathy.”
She sighed. “Can we be done for today? I’m really tired. Talking to you takes a year off my life.”
“Want me to turn off the lights? Would the dark help you confess?” he said, and he was only half joking.
“I try,” he said. “I’ll be back tomorrow.” He paused, and leveled with her. “Look. We’re running out of time, Miss Ruiz. We need to get to that auction and you’re our best hope to rescue the others, like yourself, Nancy, Kid, Celia. All of them. I don’t want you to lose sight of that. I’ll listen to you, I’ll even try to see things from your perspective, but at the end of the day…you’re safe. Others aren’t so lucky.”
She nodded, solemnly. “I know, Reed. Trust me, I know. I don’t want those evil bastards to get away with it either. I really don’t.”
“I hope so, Miss Ruiz. Get some sleep.” Matthew stood and gathered his things, remembering to shut off the recorder and tuck it into his jacket where it couldn’t get lost.
He left the hospital and decided to go back to the office for a few hours. It was still relatively early and the offices in Pakistan would be open. He had to make a few calls.
Back at the office, he got on the phone with the FIA and asked if they had any information about a slave auction happening in the next few days. As predicted, the FIA agents weren’t pleased to be getting a call from the FBI, but after interweaving the standard threat-coax key words in his most polite voice, they begrudgingly said they’d look into it and pass along any information.
“Please keep an eye on the private airports for any high-profile people entering the country: billionaires, sheiks, anyone with a lot of money and power. Especially if they have any ties you know of to organized crime, including guns, drugs, and human labor.”
“You don’t have to tell us how to do our job, Agent Reed.,” said the agent on the other end. His accent was South African. “We’re quite capable of gathering intelligence without the U.S. Government.”
“Then I’ll expect a call from you boys in a couple of days?” Matthew baited.
“A pleasure, Agent Reed. We’ll keep an eye out for Demitri Balk or anyone traveling under the name Vladek Rostrovich.” The line went dead.
“Dickface,” Matthew grumbled. He pressed down on his phone to make another call. He looked down a listing of government agencies in Pakistan and also put a call in to the office in charge of PACHTO. The Prevention and Control of Human Trafficking Ordinance had only been in place since 2002, but it was gaining steam. It was difficult to get a hold of someone who spoke English, but after a few redials he finally got in touch with a linguist who worked there.
It was a little after eight when Matthew decided he’d done all he could for the night. He gathered his belongings, including his recorder and headed for his hotel. He couldn’t stop thinking about Olivia’s story. He couldn’t stop thinking about Celia.
By the time he’d arrived at his room, set his briefcase down on the table, emptied his pockets, carefully stacked any loose change by denomination and placed them in a row by size, placed his keys, wallet and watch on the table and hung up his suit jacket, he’d made up his mind to listen to the damn tape he couldn’t stop thinking about. He was already so hard; he could barely sit down to remove his shoes and socks. He rushed through his process, eager to get his clothes off and touch himself.
Finally, he finished hanging his clothes and all that remained was his underwear, tented with his shameful arousal. Ordinarily, he had no problem with jerking off. However, it was the circumstances surrounding his hard-on that left him feeling guilty.
“You’re a sick motherfucker,” Matthew whispered, but gave in and pushed his underwear down his legs and put them in the laundry bag. He didn’t bother showering, he was too needy. Instead, he pulled the bedspread down and flung himself onto the crisp cold sheets of the bed. He reached for the recorder on the nightstand and rewound it to Celia’s entrance. His cock leapt. He shut his eyes and put his hand on his hot flesh as Livvie’s voice filled the room.
Matthew wasn’t gentle with himself. He didn’t like gentle. He grabbed his dick like it was some sort of enemy and squeezed it until it hurt. Margaret and Richard were great parents: kind, loving, and warm. They took a damaged kid whose mother had been murdered and gave him a great life, but they couldn’t wipe his memories. They couldn’t strip away the darkness in him. They couldn’t make him stop liking this.
Matthew dragged his fingernails across his chest, sure to scratch his nipple hard enough to make him wince and buck his hips up into his fist.
“She raised the flogger over her head and brought it down hard across Kid’s chest. He cried out, doubling over, and when those men held him up, there was an angry red stripe across his chest. Kid sobbed…”
Matthew imagined himself in Kid’s place, ashamed the image was so arousing, so crushingly right, but Matthew had tears in his eyes because he knew it was wrong. It was wrong to listen to Olivia’s voice. It was wrong to listen to Kid’s misery. It was wrong. Wrong. Wrong!
Matthew came. Hard. His come spraying him across his chest, burning against the scored skin, and even that, was glorious. He panted loudly, alone in the dark, listening to Olivia’s voice. His other hand, the one not covered in come, reached for the recorder and switched it off.
In the end, it didn’t even matter. He was getting hard again. It had been a while since he’d allowed himself to come and his dick wasn’t going to be happy with a quick jerk-off session. He refused to listen to the tape again though. He refused.
He jolted out of bed and into the shower to rinse off. There was a club. There was always a club. And no matter how Matthew tried not to seek them out, he always did. He was constantly aware of where he could go to find what his subconscious demanded of him.
Out of the shower, he quickly dressed in a pair of jeans and button-up shirt. Nothing black, nothing that would suggest he was dominant. He hated when eager subs sat down next to him, thinking he’d love nothing better than to put them over his knee. He always sent them away in tears, ashamed he couldn’t give them what they wanted. He’d tried. He’d tried to be that guy. It always ended badly.
Matthew woke up sore. Everything hurt. Slowly, he bent his head forward and grunted when pain shot down the back of his neck and settled in between his shoulders. He went limp and fell onto the mattress again. This was going to be more difficult than he thought.
With each passing second, more of his consciousness was regained and soon his heart picked up a frantic rhythm. He’d gone out last night.
“Matthew? Is that you?”
Matthew groaned. No. No, no, no, nooooo. He pressed his face hard into the bed beneath him. He noticed his dick was hard. It wasn’t just morning wood, either. He was remembering.
He was startled to hear a familiar voice. Her voice. “Fuck!” he grumbled under his breath. How could he handle this? How could he explain?
Anyone else! Anyone else would have been fine. No, it’d been her sitting next to him when he finally had the courage to turn on his barstool.
Her red hair was worn loose; soft waves cascaded down her back. She wore a white shirt wrapped around her waist and tied at the back. Her cleavage peeked out a little, just enough to make a man curious, but not enough to expose what she was hiding beneath her tight shirt. A black leather skirt at mid thigh and metal studded heels completed the ensemble.
Matthew’s face was hot all over again, his cheeks colored with his embarrassment. Especially when he recalled the way he’d tried to explain his presence.
“I needed a drink.”
“Oh, I understand that, believe me. I don’t drink when I play, though,” she said casually.
Matthew had wondered how the fuck she could be so casual. He’d wondered all night actually. He knew most people thought he was cold, efficient and detached, but he had nothing on her. She’d wrecked all of his carefully constructed control and she’d done it without losing any of her cool.
“I’m not here to play. I just needed a drink,” he said. His ears felt hot and he knew it would be spreading to his face and neck any minute. He wanted to leave, but she blocked his exit and stayed there, eyeing him with suspicion.
“And you just ended up here? Forgive me, Matthew, but that’s doubtful.” She arched a red brow.
“I’m…. I’m…,” he started to say.
“No need to be shy, Matthew. I mean, I’m here too, right? The only real question is: Who are you looking for?”
Matthew’s hips rolled and he felt the burn of his muscles protesting against the action. He’d be surprised if he could sit today.
“I’m not looking for anyone. I just –”
“Lying? Really? Of all the things I thought you might be, a liar didn’t really cross my mind,” she said.
“Fuck what you thought,” he countered and slammed his whiskey neat. He stood to leave, but Sloan blocked his path, trapping him between her body and the stool. She smelled sweet, like green apples. It certainly wasn’t the kind of thing one expected. Not in a fetish club.
Knowing it would hurt, he braced himself and reached back to touch his ass with his fingers. Yes: there were raised welts all over his butt. He traced them with the tip of his finger, marveling at the fact there was a perfect handprint where her slender, whip-like fingers had landed. He’d always wondered if the brilliant Dr. Janice Sloan would psycho analyze during sex. Now he knew the answer.
“That’s rude, Matthew. You’re trying to hurt my feelings. But I forgive you because I know you’re embarrassed.” She stepped closer, a hand on his chest urging him back onto his seat. Her hand felt hot, really hot, like it could burn a hole in his chest. Matthew relented and allowed himself to be pushed back onto the barstool.
Sloan rose up on her tip-toes and leaned over Matthew to whisper in his ear, “You’re cheeks are red and your heart is beating really fast.”
Matthew moaned and rubbed his ass cheek again. Yes, he’d been embarrassed. He’d never expected to see Sloan, dressed like a cross between the Madonna and the whore, smelling like apples and at the same time rubbing her tits against his chest. She’d known what she was doing, that much was even more obvious now.
“Leave Sloan for the office, Matthew,” she said with a smile.
“Fine. What the hell do you want, Janice? You want to tell everyone you saw me here? That I’m a freak? Go ahead. I don’t give a fuck,” he said. He whispered the words, half angry, half nervous. He didn’t know what he’d do if she decided to tell people about him.
He was still worried about that. The things he’d let her do! The way he’d begged her not to stop. He shook his head, trying to clear the memories, but it wasn’t working, not when he was still so sore and her smell still lingered in his sheets.
“You’re not a Dom.” Janice shook her head, “I didn’t think so. I mean, you could be, you’re so strong, so masculine and in control. But that’s the problem. Isn’t it, Matthew? It’s a lot of work to be in control all the time.” She raised her delicate hand and twirled her fingers in the hair at Matthew’s nape. It was an intimate act, full of implications.
Ah, yes. The fucking psycho-babble. Olivia had had it right: Sloan couldn’t help herself. She looked right into people and started tearing them apart. No matter that it hurt. No matter that she wasn’t invited to do it. All night, she’d done it to him, poked and poked and poked until he’d given it up.